Data Won’t Change Your Behavior: A Critical Design Exploration of Quantified Self Technologies

Eva Durall, Teemu Leinonen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review


Data is becoming a ubiquitous phenomenon in our culture. Technologies
that collect data about us on our behalf, such as lifelogging
and quantified self devices, have been presented as able to
help people change behaviors. This paper presents a study exploring
the meaningfulness of these devices and their use. To investigate
this topic, we designed our own QS device, using a critical
design approach, called Feeler. We also conducted an experiment
in which five participants used the device. Feeler guides users to
meditate, study, and play. When the user is engaged in these activities
with the device, it collects biological data (EEG) from the
user and further asks users to share their own impressions about
their attention and relaxation levels. From the experiment we
collected about 7.5 hours of audio data, including think-aloud and
semi-structured interviews. The audio was processed by marking
interesting sections for further analysis and contextualization. Our
results indicate that people are trustful of QS technologies and the
ability of such technologies to help them initiate behavioral
changes. We also found out that the use of these technologies is
targeted towards productivity and self-improvement, such as
avoiding procrastination, improving focus, and avoiding social
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationISEA2017 Manizales BIO-CREATION AND PEACE
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 23rd International Symposium on Electronic Arts
EditorsJulián Jaramillo Arango, Andrés Bubarno, Felipe César Londoño, Mauricio G. Mejía
Place of PublicationManizales
PublisherUniversidad de Caldas
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)978-958-759-161-3
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA4 Conference publication
EventInternational Symposium on Electronic Art - Universidad de Caldas, Manizales, Colombia
Duration: 11 Jun 201718 Jun 2017
Conference number: 23


ConferenceInternational Symposium on Electronic Art
Abbreviated titleISEA
Internet address


  • lifelogging
  • Technology design
  • Automated data collection
  • Critical design
  • Quantified self


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